The picture on Instagram spoke volumes. It grabbed me immediately. (I wish I could give credit to the person who posted it, but I have no idea who it was now.) A mom and a dad were sitting in the front seats of a minivan, holding hands. The pic had been taken by a child in the backseat. The lady posting it said one of her children had gotten ahold of her phone and taken the picture. She discovered it later. She said that she and her husband always held hands when they went places as a family in their minivan.
This, I thought, is real life romance.
You have the fairy tale kind of romance, and then you have the real life kind.The fairy tale kind of romance is sweet and special. Chocolate and flowers, gifts and cards, overnight get-aways, sunsets, and fancy dinners at quiet restaurants. Marriages need a little fairy tale time now and then, when things look nice and smell nice and everything is just right. But somehow, sooner or later, fairy tales evaporate like a puff of wind, and you are back to the noisy, nitty gritty reality.
Real life romance is a husband and wife sharing their kisses in the kitchen with a toddler (or two or three)! It’s standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the sink washing dishes and talking about the day. It’s knowing that with each other is the safest place to be. It’s not being “high maintenance.” It’s overnight stays at the hospital for babies being born, and tears of joy together at the arrival of the precious new life. It’s knowing each other so well that you can read each other’s thoughts from across the room. It’s getting up together at 2 am to comfort a sick child, searching for the Tylenol, taking turns rocking the feverish little one. It’s loving your spouse for who they are, and for who they are becoming, as the years roll on. It’s listening, each to the other, to try to understand. It’s knowing when your spouse is discouraged, and they know you know, and they know you understand. It’s a tired smile and a squeeze of the hand after a long day. It’s simple things: a cup of coffee together, or a few quiet minutes to walk and talk. It’s working through problems together, problems like a broken hot water tank or a broken furnace. It’s trying to keep a sense of humor through the problem-solving process, but if/when you fail, it’s being quick to apologize. It’s sharing your joys and your heartbreaks. It’s understanding each other’s failures and loving each other anyway. It’s being willing to let things go. It’s these things and a million other real life, every day things.
Real life romance is living the nitty gritty of life together and staying best friends through it all. This is the kind of romance that keeps a marriage and home strong. Don’t wish for some elusive, ideal fairy tale; embrace the life in front of you and give it your all.
Real life and true love– keeping that sparkle in your eyes just for each other, and holding hands in the front of the minivan with a noisy crew in the back.♥